Earthquake strikes Indonesia’s Maluku Islands

Earthquake strikes Indonesia’s Maluku Islands

A strong earthquake struck off Indonesia’s Maluku Islands on Sunday, prompting a tsunami warning, which was later lifted.

The US Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.9 earthquake was centred 185km southeast of Manado at a depth of 24km.

“The tsunami early warning has ended,” Indonesia’s Meteorological, Geophysical and Climatological Agency (BMKG) said in a statement.

The quake caused panic in the city of Ternate in the Maluku islands chain, where people ran to higher ground.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage

“I was getting ready to sleep when the window started rattling,” Budi Nurgianto, a Ternate resident, told AFP news agency.

“It was very strong. I ran from my house and all my neighbours fled too.”

Indonesia is one of the most disaster-hit nations due to its position straddling the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, where tectonic plates collide.

It has been hit by a string of deadly earthquakes, including a devastating one in 2004 measuring 9.1 that struck off the coast of Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that killed 220,000 throughout the region, including 168,000 in Indonesia alone.

The Boxing Day disaster was the world’s third-biggest earthquake since 1900, that lifted the ocean floor in some places by 15 metres.

Indonesia’s Aceh province is the hardest hit area, but the tsunami affects coastal areas as far away as Africa.

Last year, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and a subsequent tsunami in Palu on Sulawesi Island killed more than 2,200 with about 1,000 others declared missing.

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